US Coronavirus: Nation units Covid-19 case, hospitalization and dying information forward of key assembly for Moderna’s vaccine candidate
Politico was the first to report that some pharmacists found they could take six – and possibly even seven – doses of vaccine from vials that hold five doses each. An FDA spokeswoman told CNN that the agency is aware of the problem and is “working with Pfizer to find the best way forward”.
“Given the public health emergency, the FDA is currently advising that it is acceptable to use every available full dose (the sixth, or possibly even a seventh) from each vial until the problem is resolved,” the spokeswoman said. “However, since the vials are preservative-free, it is important to note that any remaining product that is not a full dose should not be pooled from multiple vials to create one.”
More than 2.9 million doses have been allocated to states for the first Pfizer vaccine doses, according to a list released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 2.9 million more will be available for the second dose approximately 21 days later.
The first vaccinations and a possible green light for Moderna are good news. But the pandemic in the US is far from over – and more brutal than ever.
On Wednesday there were dismal numbers everywhere – the highest Covid-19 infections and deaths ever reported in a single day, and the highest number of Covid-19 hospital stays the country has seen since the pandemic began.
More than 247,000 new cases have been reported. More than 113,000 Americans are being hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And more than 3,600 deaths have been added to the nation’s death toll.
“Still at a dangerous and critical point” in the pandemic
While some progress has been made in slowing the spread of the virus in the northern and central US, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, cases are still increasing in more populous states.
“Stabilization in the northern plains, upper Midwest, and some Rocky Mountain and Heartland states is offset by significant deterioration in more populous states (82% of the population),” according to reports by the task force States sent and received by CNN.
And now Americans have important decisions to make: the upcoming holidays could lead to a renewed spike in cases, hospitalizations, and inevitably deaths if people choose to travel and gather again. Despite a Thanksgiving warning from the CDC urging travel, more than four million were vacationing away from home.
In California, where Los Angeles County health officials continue to report skyrocketing case numbers, Health Director Dr. Christina Ghaly, the surge to residents who had gathered over the Thanksgiving holiday despite repeated requests to stay home.
And the worst is yet to come, Ghaly added, saying, “We have some very difficult weeks ahead of us, and possibly until January.”
Governors in the Northeast and Midwest released a video message this week urging residents to double their security measures and reconsider their vacation plans.
“If you plan to go on vacation or meet with other households, we ask you to reconsider,” the governors said. “Just infection can cause an outbreak in your community that could overwhelm our hospitals and put you and your loved ones at risk.”
Hoping to contain the spread during the holidays, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced curfews from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from December 23-26 and December 30 to January 4.
“What people need to know is that we are still in a dangerous and critical part of this pandemic and tens of thousands of Americans are at stake,” Adm said. Brett Giroir, deputy health minister for the Department of Health and Human Services, said Wednesday.
“If you can avoid travel, that’s a good measure,” he added.
Further home Covid-19 tests are allowed
Meanwhile, the FDA also granted emergency approval on Wednesday for another Covid-19 home test – this one for Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home test.
The test is approved for “home prescription use with self-collected nasal swab samples from people aged 15 and over who are suspected of having COVID-19 by their doctor within the first seven days of symptoms appearing,” the agency said in a statement . Adults can take samples for younger children.
Abbott has said the new test will cost $ 25.
“The FDA continues to approve COVID-19 tests that will give more Americans access to more flexibility and options for testing,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement. This comes a day after the FDA cleared an emergency $ 30 over-the-counter test, conducted by Ellume, that people can take home and give to themselves.
On Wednesday, Giroir said there is likely to be more good news soon from the FDA about “other home tests that are not exactly over-the-counter but are in the same stadium”.
“You will see more and more tests being authorized and then ramping up very soon at the beginning of the year,” he added.
FDA is investigating an allergic reaction to vaccine
The FDA is also investigating an allergic reaction from a health worker in Alaska who, according to doctors, received Pfizer’s vaccine Tuesday and felt flushed within 10 minutes. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and increased heart rate were later reported.
The case is the first ever reported allergic reaction to the vaccine in the United States. However, authorities expect the occasional response and are ready to treat anyone with a vaccination.
The health care worker – a middle-aged woman – has not had a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines, her doctors said on Wednesday.
“About one in millions of people who receive a vaccine can have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine,” said Dr. Paul Offit, member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Board, told CNN. “What we need to find out is what specifically appears to trigger this allergic reaction.”
The case is something health officials need to investigate, Offit said.
“Currently, the CDC recommendation is that you should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to an injectable medical device,” he said. “If you have had severe allergic reactions in the past, you should be given the vaccine. However, you will have to wait 30 minutes in the area to make sure you get the adrenaline rush that causes these symptoms to go away.
“If you’ve never had a severe allergic reaction, wait 15 minutes for the same reason.”
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Jacqueline Howard, Raja Razek and Andrea Diaz contributed to this report.